So day two of RubyConf went much better for me, content-wise. Caleb Clausen gave a subdued, but very interesting, presentation on Ocelot, his version of a Ruby compiler. Yehuda Katz brought down the house with his presentation "Polishing Rubygems", which was primarily about his project, Bundler. Andy Keep had a different take on the topic of partial evaluation to make Ruby more amenable to compiling. And Charlie Nutter was very engaging in his presentation with Thomas Enebo on the status of JRuby, including a cool demo of jirb running on an Android phone (simulator).
But my favorite talk by far was Laurent Sansonetti of Apple, talking about MacRuby. Laurent, who is clearly not a native English speaker -- are you reading this, jmettraux? -- gave a professional, content-laden presentation on MacRuby, which is pretty much his baby at Apple. He had some cool demos -- one of which was nearly thwarted by the hotel's abyssmal internet setup -- of MacRuby's integration with Cocoa/Objective-C, which also demonstrated that MacRuby has already solved the problem of compiling Ruby. XCode will build executables with the MacRuby framework embedded, and it will ship the MacRuby code as binary .rbo files, not Ruby source files. No need to obfuscate or simply give your code away; MacRuby takes care of it all.
Now if only we could get Apple to open up the iPhone to this. Or perhaps build a tablet of some sort ...